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Discussion Starter #1
I rented a Prius for a business trip as I get paid $37.5 cents per mile to use my own car. I rented the Prius for $32.00 a day, drove over 460 miles while getting a chance to try one out. The car had 6 miles on it when I rented it. I drove the highway at 65-75 mph and ran the car hard (rental). I noticed when climbing hills, the engine really winds up. No tachometer but must be over 4000 rpm? Does anyone know? For the trip, I got 41.1 mpg (math). When I got home, I had the gas station fill the tank until it spilled out on the paint. I then commuted for 4 days with the Pruis and then filled the tank the same way as before. It took 1.77 gallons to go 90 miles. Not bad. That comes out to be 50.847 mpg. I wanted to wait for the 2004 Prius as I read the car would have a more acceptable styling. After seeing the pictures, I like the old Prius much better. So maybe a 2003 Prius is in my future? I drive a luxury car right now (1993 Chrysler Imperial) that gets 18-19 commuting and 26-29 on the highway. The Prius would only be purchased to help save the planet as I would be giving up a lot not driving the Imperial. :D
 

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spilling gas? and engine sounds

ugh, spilling gas! there goes the
low emissions benefit of the Prius
(particularly the unburnt hydrocarbons)
when you let the gas spill. not
good for the paint, or probably the
charcoal canister either.

oh, and BTW: first 600 miles is the
break-in period for the Prius - shouldn't
be driven hard (hard accelleration and
hard braking) or over 62MPH (100KPH).

Basically, don't buy the 2003 Prius
you rented when it comes off of the
TRAC program! ;-)

As for the engine sounds - ignore
them. The Prius has a CVT (continuously
variable transmission), so the
engine speed will depend on what is
most efficient for your mode of
cruising. There is a rev. limiter
of about 4000 RPM, so you never
"red-line" the Prius' gas engine.
Basically, if you're trying to accelerate
onto a 55MPH highway from a stop
(I do this daily - stop sign at on-ramp)
the Prius' gas engine will make a
lot of noise. However, when coasting
at 55MPH down a hill, the gas engine
may even shut off. You can't use the
sound of the engine to tell you
what speed you're going, like you
would with a traditional car.
 

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Marvel it is

Yep, it's an engineering wonder. Wait till you start looking into mods people have for the Prius.

I have to agree with you, I definately prefer the 01-03 body style. One of the things that drew me to the Prius is the fact that it pretty much looks like a normal car. And a secure trunk is a requirement for me, as I traded in a Geo Metro (fun, cheap car) for my 02 - I know what it's like to not have one.

Strike while the iron is hot, and NEVER buy a used car that was owned by a rental company, I may have beaten, er, I mean rented it *cough* at one time.
 

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Re: spilling gas? and engine sounds

mrv said:
oh, and BTW: first 600 miles is the
break-in period for the Prius - shouldn't
be driven hard (hard accelleration and
hard braking) or over 62MPH (100KPH).
I've heard this before but for a long time believed it to be a myth--for any car. I'd like to good factual explaination--maybe some statistics to back up the claim that driving a car normally(or as it will always be driven) in the first 500 or 1000 or whatever miles will in some way harm it or decrease the life span or something. Just doesn't make much sense to me. I've heard the "things have to wear in", but aren't they just going to wear in faster if you drive faster or harder?

I'm open to changing my mind if someone's got the hard data, in the mean time I'm going to drive my new vehicles like I intend to drive them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Rental cars an break-in periods

I thought I would comment some more, I had a company car a 1985? Toyota Tercel with the black package. I took delivery in Great Falls Montana as one of our car Dealer accounts was out there and so I had to drive it home to Portland Oregon. I ran that brand new car between 55 and 90+ miles per hour all the way home. It was a 5-speed so I geared down a lot keeping the revs way up. It got good and hot. All of this behavior was against break-in procedures. Here's the amazing part, the car turned out to be the best Toyota in our Company fleet. It burned no oil, got the best mileage of the bunch, had more power than the other Tercel's we had, just an all around better car. I still wonder if the brutal break-in period actually did the trick? Our Company was supposed to trade-in the car at 70,000 miles but I insisted they keep it. It got traded in at 120,000 still running like a champ.. So with that said, maybe I should buy the one I rented? I wonder? :) This looks like a great Prius site!
 

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Re: spilling gas? and engine sounds

efusco said:
mrv said:
oh, and BTW: first 600 miles is the
break-in period for the Prius - shouldn't
be driven hard (hard accelleration and
hard braking) or over 62MPH (100KPH).
I've heard this before but for a long time believed it to be a myth--for any car. I'd like to good factual explaination--maybe some statistics to back up the claim that driving a car normally(or as it will always be driven) in the first 500 or 1000 or whatever miles will in some way harm it or decrease the life span or something. Just doesn't make much sense to me. I've heard the "things have to wear in", but aren't they just going to wear in faster if you drive faster or harder?

I'm open to changing my mind if someone's got the hard data, in the mean time I'm going to drive my new vehicles like I intend to drive them.

As far as the no hard braking, I've
heard the same warning to gently
ease the brakes in when I've replaced
the brakes on my other car. Sudden
hard braking on new brakes can cause
uneven wear on the brake pads and
"glazing" (too much heat warping the
pads, if I remember the description
I was given correctly...).

As for the engine, I don't really
know. As I wasn't a mech. engineer
in college, I skipped the engine
design course. I kinda figure that
the manufacturer of the engine would
know what's best for the engine...
<shrug>
 

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The Ultimate Authority...

I went to the Car Talk Web site and copied this similar question and response...guess maybe I better drive like a good little boy when I get my new Prius. Of course I drove my Expedition hard and it has 120K+ and no problems so I'll probably still be a skeptic. Think they keep Nascar engines under 50mph for the first 500 miles?!

Dear Tom and Ray:

I recently bought a new 2001 Jetta GLX and drove it at 80 mph for the first 700 miles. I was told that wasnt good for my new engine. Is this true? If so, what damage have I done to my new cars engine?

Oliver


TOM: I wouldnt give it a second thought, Oliver. Just forget all about it. Its not even worth worrying about.

RAY: I mean, if youre really interested, you can read the owners manual, where it specifically warns you not to do this because it prevents the piston rings from seating correctly and leads to oil consumption.

TOM: In case you havent run across it yet, the owners manual is a little book about half an inch thick with large print and its probably sitting at the bottom of your glove compartment. Lots of new cars come with them.

RAY: But dont go through any trouble in reading it, Oliver. Its not really important. When your Jetta is burning a quart of oil every 400 miles and your dealer says he doesnt know why, you will.
 

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More of the same from Tom & Ray...

Dear Tom and Ray:

My dear, departed dad told me that if you break in a new car engine at slow speeds, it will always be slow and sluggish. Is this true? Whats the real skinny? Is there a preferred break-in protocol?

Susan


TOM: Great question, Susan. But because we never speak ill of the departed, we cant answer it.

RAY: Actually, Im sure your dad was right about many other things and was a superior human being in all other regards.

TOM: But his story about break-in is an old myth, Susan. And we dont know how it got started . . . probably by some teen-age boy who got caught racing his dads new car.

RAY: It assumes that the car somehow learns to go slow when its young, and then it never knows how to go at normal speeds later on. Kind of like my brother at work.

TOM: But its just not true. There is a legitimate protocol for breaking in a new vehicle. It varies slightly from car to car, but the main purpose is to allow the piston rings to seat, or conform to the exact shape of the cylinder walls so they make a tight seal. And most experts agree that the best way to do this is to keep the engine rpm below 3,000 and to vary the engine speed (i.e., dont drive at one constant speed for a long time).

RAY: And the break-in period generally lasts anywhere from 500 to 1,000 miles, or until your check clears at the dealership, whichever comes first.

TOM: If the piston rings dont seat correctly, your car might burn oil later on. And nobody wants that.

RAY: So the speed at which you break in the car might have an effect on how much oil it burns. But it has absolutely no effect on how fast or slow the car goes.

TOM: The last time we checked, that was affected mostly by the position of your foot on the gas pedal.
 

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Last one, Tom & Ray on breaking in Brakes...

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am writing to ask your opinion about some advice my husband gave me. I have a 1992 Subaru Legacy with 123,000 miles. I just had the brake pads and rotors replaced. My husband insists that I have to break them in. He told me to apply steady pressure to the pedal and stop from 40 mph. He says I need to do this several times. Because I didnt clearly understand his instructions, he had to do it himself. So now this is a purely intellectual question. Is my husband correct about breaking in the brakes? I dont know whether or not to believe him, because a lot of his actions around cars have a cabalistic aspect to them.

Alice


RAY: What a great word, Alice: cabalistic as if hes a member of a cabal or secret society. I love it. And every wife in America is probably nodding her head in agreement right now.

TOM: Oh, I thought it was a reference to cabal TV.

RAY: Well, the old caballero happens to be right this time, Alice. New brakes should be broken in although most brakes eventually break in on their own if you just drive around long enough.

TOM: When we do a brake job on a car, we take it out and do exactly what he describes. We get it up to 40 or 45 miles per hour and then apply steady brake pressure and bring it to a halt. Some cars are fine after the first time you do this, while others require several applications before the brakes feel good.

RAY: This break-in routine also serves another important purpose: For those times when my brother forgets to put the pads in or forgets to add the brake fluid, the surprise is on him during the break-in rather than on the customer when he or she leaves the shop and drives into the nearest lamppost.

TOM: What actually happens during this break-in is that the pads and rotors are forced to match up, or seat, with one another. The new parts often start out either too smooth (so theres not enough friction to provide good braking) or not smooth enough (so theres not enough surface contact between them). And in either case, you can get increased stopping distances and/or brake noise.

RAY: Riding the brakes a little bit, which is essentially what youre doing when you apply constant pressure to break them in, gets the two surfaces completely in sync like theyre members of the same cabal. Thanks for writing, Alice.
 
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